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McHaffie name origins


MacHaffie, the last name found in Galloway, said to be one of many forms derived from MacDhubshith, Mac-a-Phi, McDuffie, M'Haffie, MacFie, etc. In 1991, I learned that Dr. George F. Black in Surnames of Scotland, p. 461, shows listing:

MACCAFFIE, MACHAFFIE. The fuller form of this name is given in a list of Wigtown men (Wodrow, Analecta, IV, p. 22) as Mackilhaffy. This represents Mac Gille Chathbhaidh, `son of the servant of S. Cathbad.' The name is also preserved in the place name Craig Caffie, parish of Inch, which appears in a charter of the time of Robert I as Kellechaffe or Kellechaffy (RMS., I, App. II, 616). John McCaffe was king's messenger in 1540 (ALHT., VII, p. 440). The name is confined mainly to the Stewartry, and M'Hivey of 1578 (M'Kerlie, I, p. 239) is probably an old spelling of the name. McChaffie 1689. The following forms are all recorded in 1684 (Parish): McHaffine, McIlhaffie, Mahaffie, Mahalfie, Milhaffie. In Stranraer 1940.

ALHT refers to the Annals of the Lord High Treasurer. My research shows that Andrew McChaffie, 1689, is same as Andrew McHaffie in Miltown, Kirkcudbright, who turns up in 1689 PC records most of the time as McHaffie. The temporary ministers in the area list McHaffies with several variants, but the Register of the Privy Council pages show McHaffie. Dr. Black also gives another listing which I had learned about earlier, which differs from statements made in the foregoing: MacFee, MacFie, MacPhee, MacPhie. G. MacDhubhshith, one of the oldest and most interesting Gaelic personal names we possess. "Its plan and concept," says Dr. Gillies, "go far away beyond those of even our old names" (Place-names of Argyllshire, p. 82). Johannes Macdufthi appears as charter witness in Dumfriesshire in the reign of Alexander II (Melros, p. 182), and a Thomas Macdoffy rendered homage, 1296 (Bain, II, p. 169). The AFM. record Dubside (mod. G. Dubhsidhe) as ferleiginn or reader of Iona in 1164, and Skene suggests (CS., III, p. 363) that the clan may have derived its name from him. The island of Colonsay appears to have been the home of the clan, but later a number of the name were located in Lochaber, and were followers of Cameron of Locheil. Archibald McKofee was a tenant in Islay in 1506 and Malcolm Makcofee tenant in Colonsay in same year (ER., XII, p. 709). Morphe mcphe de Colwinsay was cited for treason in 1531 (APS., II, p. 333a), and Dusey [=Dubhsith] McFee was tenant of Bar in Islay, 1541 (ER., XVII, p. 616). Ewin McAphie alias Vic Condachie was one of those ordered to appear either before the Privy Council or before the sheriff and give bond in 1681 (RPC., 3. ser. VII, p. 82), and a notorious freebooter named Macphee about 1845-50 gave name to Eilean Mhic Phee in Loch Quoich, where he established himself with his family recognizing no law and no landowner. There is an account of him, with portrait, in Ellice's Place-names in Glengarry and Glenquoich. John M'Affie appears in Meikle Kildy, parish of Dron, 1747 (Dunblane). The name means `Black (one) of peace,' from dubh and sith (OIr. dub + sith), and parallel names are Cusithe, `hound of peace,' and Fearsithe, `man of peace.' A family in North Uist is (or was) known as `Dubh-sidh,' `Black fairy,' from a tradition that the family have been familiar with the fairies in their fairy flights and secret migrations (CG., 2. ed., II, p. 354). M'affeith ca 1512, McAffie 1595, M'aphie 1723, M'duffe 1532, Mcduffie 1626, McDuphie 1703, Makfeith 1605, McFeye 1585, Mc iphie 1609. MacHaffie is another current form of the name. McAchopich 1569. MACDUFFIE. G. MacDuibhshithe, `son of Dubhshithe' (the black man of peace), the name of an old Colonsay family. See MACFEE. The lands of Glenscharway in Arane were leased to Neil M'Duffy, 1460 (ER., VII, p. 13). Sir Malcolm Macduffy, vicar of Kilmarew (i.e. Killarow in Islay) died 1554 (OPS., II, p. 261). In 1592 the king confirmed a charter of feudifirme by Malcolm M'Duphe, commendator of Ormesay, with consent of the brethren to Archibald Campbell M'Duthie Vekdonill and his heirs masculine of certain lands in the lordship of Knapdale (RMS., V, 2166).

George Fraser Black had a Ph.D., was on the staff of the New York City Public Library, and his 900 page book Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning & History is highly regarded and contains 8,000 last names. [I don't have codes for abbreviations.] Black also lists Duthac, saying it is Scotticized form of G. Dubhthach, that Old Irish name is Dubthach....Duffy, O'Duffy,...rendered Duhig in county Cork, and Dooey, Dowey,...Duhy....earlier Dubhthoch. He mentions an ogham inscription at Lamogue,...Dovatuc-eas. In Old Norse spelled Dufthakr. Dubhthach was arch poet of King Laeghaire, converted by S. Patrick. Dubhthach....of Columcille, died 7 October 938. He says Duthacus and Duthac are found as forenames in 15th c. Under Duthie, Black says the name may commemorate S. Dubhthach of Tain, and mentions some in Dunblane, Orkney, Insches. Black says Maccathy is an old Galloway name, 1481, and is found in Rothesay, 1680s.

Robert Bain and clan maps tie McHaffies of Galloway to the MacDuffie-MacFies, a very ancient clan. In The Highland Clans, Sir Iain Moncrieffe of That Ilk, pp. 79-80, quotes Dr. Black: McFie, one of oldest and most interesting Gaelic names. Black derives Macfie through Macduffy from MacDhuibhshith, a name meaning `black (one) of peace.' Black also says, may be related to sacred clan who became the Mackinnons. The Church on Colonsay is dedicated to St. Columba, to whose kin the Mackinnons probably belonged. Sir Iain Moncrieffe's map, Scotland of Old, lists Machaffie and indicates the MacFie tartan to be worn. Moncrieffe states in his book, The Highland Clans, that he was abroad at the time the editing of the clan names list for Scotland of Old was done, saying that the task fell to his editors. Moncrieffe was the Albany Herald, court of Lord Lyon of Arms. Frank Adam, scholar, also supports this tie in his book The Clans, Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands. The late Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, Emeritus Lord Lyon of Arms, revised Adam's book and concurred. Also quoted in The Highland Clans is Dr. Cameron Gillies, who says, `Its plan and concept go far away beyond those of even our old names,' in Place-names of Argyllshire, p. 82, referring to the name McDhuibhshith. From An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language by Alexander MacBain, LL.D., repr. 1982, p. 409: MAC-PHEE, G[aelic] M'a-Phi, M[iddle] G[aelic] M'a ffeith (Dean of Lismore's book), M'Duibsithi (1467), documents Macduffie (1463), for Dub-shithe, Black of peace (dubh and sith). [The space between letters or the hyphen indicates that something has been left out.] MacFie was once the only spelling the Lord Lyon King of Arms recognized, although some MacHaffie prob. had registered arms by 1600s and onward. I have read that dhubh, black, means black-haired when applied to a man and is pronounced du. The tradition of having a dark-haired man be the first person to step over the threshhold on New Year's Day is linked to the Dark Man of Peace, Dubhshith. MacFies claim descent from Alpin, (k. 836 A.D., King of the Scots) whose son Kenneth I, crowned 843 A.D., at Scone was first to rule over kingdoms of both the Picts and Scots (Scotti from IRE). Alpin's symbol was the boar's head, couped, in memory of his slain father. Author S. Baring-Gould states: "the clan Alpine consisted of seven subclans: the MacGregors, Grants, MacIntosh, MacNab, MacPhies, MacGarries, and MacAulays."

Ian Grimble, another authority, states that "the most aboriginal stock, a remnant in remote places.... looked upon as a fairy folk." The original inhabitants seem always to be dark and of smaller stature than those who come in to conquer and press them into outlying areas. The original inhabitants of Britain were dark haired, of medium height, and round headed, and the Celts were taller, long headed and often red-haired or blond. I try to preserve each different spelling of Scottish names. I could not have found the banished Scot, John McHaffie, or my forebears if each had not spelled and pronounced the name in this fashion and taught his offspring to do the same. Since my Daddy had told me this is the way our family pronounced and spelled it, I had to hope to find the banished man spelling it McHaffie, and sure enough, McHaffie and M'Haffie is how it is recorded in the Privy Council Register in 1684 Scotland, and McHaffie is how historian David Dobson of Scotland lists the name in The Original Scots Colonists and in Directory of Scots Banished. Mr Jas Chrystie, minister of Kirkcowan parish, Wigtownshire, on 8 Oct 1684 in preparing list of those in his parish lists John Mahaffie in Gargerie, and other family groups in area are listed as Mahaffie. M' indicates abbreviation for Mack in Scotland. In Gaelic, the accent is almost always on the first syllable (not usually on the `Mac' however). Mack HAF'fie is how my branch pronounces our name.

The Ogham alphabet chart shows 20 characters and markings used on corner edge of tombstones in 5th to 8th c., and mac, maqq were used. Stones in Killarney IRE and in n.e. Scotland (the Brandsbutt Stone also has Pictish inscribed serpent and symbols as well as the Ogham inscription). Nora Chadwick in the Introduction of H. M. Chadwick's book, Early Scotland, the Picts and the Scots and the Welsh of Southern Scotland, publ. by Cambridge at the University Press, 1949, states that the Picts did have written language. See my listing, Craigcaffie Broch. I have read that the middens, or refuse pits, on Colonsay indicate that Pictish Celts lived there long ago. Inghean, ingen, ini, nighean and ne all mean a daughter in Gaelic. In 1566 in McLeod Charter appears a woman's name shown Ne Vc Kenze. These Gaelic words all relate to a Greek root word ������ for a grand- daughter. Ogam inigena; eni-gena, per Alexander MacBain, An Etymylogical Dictionary of the Gaelic Language, 1896, repr. 1982, Gairm Publ., 29 Waterloo St., Glasgow. In Irish, o' challum means something like of the children of, I suppose. Mhic means grandchild, I think. Vic means of, or, of that name, I think. Clann means children,...Irish, Old Irish cland, Welsh plant. MacBain then gives more words meaning company, family, race, stock.

The MacDuffee/MacFie Clan Society of America was org. Jul 1962 and membership is made up of those with ties to MacDuffee, MacFie, MacAfee, MacPhee, MacGuffey, MacHaffie, Duffee, Fee and other variants. Clan Chatter, the newsletter, is published regularly and includes several pages of material on new members' profiles and their ancestral lines. Write to: Joyce McDuffie Dennis, Secretary/Registrar, 164 Annex Drive, S.E., Milledgeville, GA 31061-4864, e-mail: [email protected]. Members of the society may contact individuals who are compiling information on name variants: McAfee, McDuffie, McDuffee, Duffie, Guffey and McGuffey, Mahaffey, Haffey, McHaffie, etc. Fritz McDuffie, Oak Ridge, TN, is President of the Society, as well as the Genealogy Chairman. Web pages are on the Internet.

MacFie Clan Society of North America, 7501 Hickory Ridge Rd., Mt. Juliet TN 37122, invites membership and publishes Newsbeat. Also, I once read that the Keeper of Records is Miss Keerie MacPhee, Dal na Traigh, Aird's Bay, Taynuilt, Argyllshire, Scotland, PA35 1JQ 08662 672.

McGuffeys are also invited to join Douglas society. Matheson's Surnames in Ireland shows M'Haffy=M'Fee, M'Affie, M'Affee, MacFie, M'Afee; but none listed in Bell's The Book of Ulster I am told.